It’s nice to win prizes, but when a prize is just an attempt to get your details, the prize isn’t worth touching.
You receive a message and it takes you by surprise: it says you’ve won something, probably second prize. You enter so much by accident these days, so who can say what you’ve exactly entered. The message says that to claim your prize or send it out, you need to press a link.
The moment you do, however, the link works out how to trap your details. Whether it asks for a username, a password, or something else you can identify as yourself, only then do you realise that you’ve fallen for a scam.
This is all too common, and the prize scams have become something of a normality in our world, because they’re all too easy to fall for.
How can you identify these scams?
Dissecting the prize winning scam
These scams are very familiar, and prize winner scams tend to have quite a lot in common with the mystery package scam.
On the one hand, you winning a prize is very similar to you being told about a package waiting for you, with the payload roughly the same: go to a website to fill in your details and get the result. That’s pretty close if you ask us.
There’s also the delivery mechanism. Arriving either by SMS or email, scammers can pretend to be a company you may trust in an effort to convince you. Over email, you’ll have to look at the email address to see if it’s a scam, while SMS the con is much more convincing because scammers need only get the store right for the sender address.
In one instance of a scam we’ve received, the scammers tried to be Australian electronics retailer JB HiFi, only to mistake the store name as “JB Store”. It’s enough of a change to make it easier to spot the problem, though there are other aspects you spot the scam in, as well.
Take the wording: the message is clumsy, and suggest “lottery winners”, as opposed to a prize draw, which is what most companies would call it. A lottery in Australia is typically distinct from a prize draw, and suggests the scammer wrote the message from outside the country.
The other telltale sign is the web domain of the link, which we’ll always encourage people to look at and check before they click. In this example, even though “JBStore” supposedly sent the message, the website is a completely different link,
rtapit.com. You’d think if this were a JB promotion, it would include a link similar to the name of the company. That’s a dead giveaway that this is a scam.
What should you do if you receive a prize winning scam?
We’re not suggesting all prize winning SMS are scams, but many are. If you don’t recall entering a competition for something specific, there’s a good chance that the message is trying to con you.
If you do receive a message that seems correct, call the company in question by running a search on Google for the company name. Do not respond to the SMS. Not only is it unlikely that you’ll get an answer, but if the scammers do respond, they’ll just attempt to drag you deeper into this scam-filled rabbit hole.